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Court Notifications

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Court Notifications Empty Court Notifications

Post by Intercasa Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:53 pm

This will be added to my web page to the article How to Check on your Mexican attorney in litigation

One HUGE problem here in Mexico is notifying the litigants of hearings, time deadlines for evidence or anything else involved in the lawsuit. In the US, for example, the court clerk will mail a minute order or the attorney who won the motion will have the responsibility to notify all parties of the court’s ruling.

In Mexico there are a few different ways to notify the litigants and their attorneys. This can be important as Mexican law is very unforgiving and unlike the US where you can make a motion for relief from default, your failure to file a paper or appear at a hearing will have serious consequences which cannot be reversed easily, if at all.

Generally the court will notify the litigants in one of two ways of their rulings, future hearings, and time deadlines. They will do a general notification for minor items which is a stamp on the back of the ruling or order which makes such notification effective the day after (NOTIFIQUESE) or the court will order personal notification of the attorneys or parties (NOTIFIQUESE PERSONALMENTE).

This personal notification can make the difference between winning and losing the case if your attorney is lazy or far away from the court. In smaller courts like Chapala whose judicial district (Second State District) covers the municipalities of Chapala, Jocotepec, El Salto, Juanacatlán, Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos, Tuxcueca and Tizapán el Alto there is no way to learn of the court’s ruling unless you go to the court every day and check OR have listed an address within the city of Chapala where the notifier’s office can deliver to you a copy of the ruling.
If you do not list this address (un domicilio en la cabecera municipal) on your initial lawsuit or later change to list such an address, you will be notified in the court file by ESTRADOS which means unless you go to the courthouse and ask to see the file, you will have no way of knowing what the court ruled or that any hearings were scheduled or that any time deadline has been given to do any act or turn in any paper. This type of notification (ESTRADOS) is just like the (NOTIFIQUESE) as the clock starts ticking from the day after the notification is placed in the file.

A very common bad habit of attorneys is to avoid making the trip to Chapala and only going periodically such as every two to three weeks. While this may free up their time as a drive from Guadalajara to and from the court in Chapala may waste 2 to 4 hours or more depending on traffic, it could have severely negative consequences for the client. This can be fatal as many times the time to act (i.e. file an appeal or appear at a hearing) may be a date in less than 2 weeks from the court’s ruling which will either be missed or which will give them little to no time to prepare for the hearing or the pleading.

Some attorneys use an address of their “buddy” or sometimes even a notario so that the court notifier’s office will drop off a copy of the rulings where personal notification is ordered (NOTIFIQUESE PERSONALMENTE). This can solve the issue of timely notification and avoid wasted trips to the court only to find no news and to come back perhaps “mañana.”
This practice does have the result of backfiring on the attorneys as notarios and other attorneys are cracking down and now are refusing to receive notifications unless they’ve made a prior arrangement with the attorney as they don’t want to accept liability for receiving a notification which starts the clock ticking and then cannot reach the attorney and sometimes don’t know who he is, as he is a friend of a friend of a friend, etc. Also maybe an attorney or the secretary will accept (notification of) the ruling and be notified but then they may delay (for good cause such as not knowing where the attorney is, or not) in informing the attorney or litigant and the clock starts ticking.

How does one prevent this? The best way is to use an attorney or law firm who is either located in the area of the court (Chapala / Ajijic) or has enough attorneys / messengers / law students to be able to make regular trips to the courthouse, sometimes a few times a week to check the file to make sure no hearings have been scheduled or time periods started.
On the acceptance of the lawsuit by the court (SE ADMITE) you will see at the end if you will be notified by ESTRADOS. This is important to keep on your attorney if you are ordered to be notified that way to not miss an important date or time to act.
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